Here's is a little story on how I, Ty Stevenson, fast tracked myself in the brewing industry. From not even knowing the main ingredients in beer when I started brewing, to becoming head brewer in less than 3 years.
In the middle of 2015, I became the first Stevenson to graduate from a four year college, as well as completed my 6 year commitment in the Marine Corps Reserves at the age of 23. I was always told I had to get a good paying job to buy Ferrari's and mansions and all that stuff ever since I was a little kid ,so I went out and got a job making $30/hr starting two days after I graduated college with my Business Management degree.
After commuting an hour each way through terrible Marin County traffic, to get to a desk job I hated, I quit after 3.5 months. I was then unemployed for 2.5 months, and instead of sitting on my ass playing video games and drinking (only for the first week I did), I started asking myself what I like in life, my answer was BEER. I then went to my local homebrew shop (LHBS), bought an extract brewing kit, and used the brewing equipment my old roomate left when he moved to Cincinnati. I followed the step by step instructions in the extract brew kit from The Beverage People, in my ex-girlfriends apartment stove top, and quickly realized I needed a better burner...
I WAS HOOKED!!
I dove quickly and deeply into all the brewing knowledge and mastering of the craft that I could. I went out to buy more fermentors so I could start to brew more frequently. I started brewing as much as I could, every other week at least and continued that streak of brewing for a complete two years.
After only have been brewing for roughly 3 months, I enrolled myself in an online brewing course through one of the most accredited brewing schools in the world, Siebel Institute of Technology. During this time, I thought it would be a GREAT idea for me to go ahead and get that dog I always wanted, let alone a wolfdog. Those two things alone could be considered a full time job, as raising a half wolfdog puppy turned out to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but on top of those two things, I was also working at a winery 45 minutes away, 40 hours a week, and trying to start my small business called Waters Brewer, where I sell minerals to homebrewers for better brewing water.
I was also contacted by the president of a local homebrew club to speak to the club about brewing water, and so I did. That president quickly became a good friend/mentor of mine and I became part of the homebrew club.
I was getting roughly 3-6 hours a sleep for a span of a good four months, working intensely on learning everything I could about starting a small online business, working at a un-fulfilling daytime job to pay the bills, and coming home to a hostile household because my old roomate would be upset with my half wolfdog puppy, all on top of trying to learn everything I can about brewing on a time crunched online schedule. I was putting in my dues.
Once the three months were up, I finished my brewing school and started applying for brewing jobs all over. I had many job interviews for breweries from all over the USA, but it wasn't until the head brewer from a brewery I had visited out in Sonoma months before with my friends emailed me asking if I wanted to work for them a few days a week.
THAT WAS MY IN!!!!
If I wanted to create a life around beer, like I had originally set out to do, then I would have to drop down to part time at the winery I was working for, lose my benefits, and change my life up. I was soon working at the winery 3 days a week and at the brewery 3 days a week, trying to juggle life in between. I wanted to spend more time with my dog so I quit the winery and soon after stopped getting calls from the brewery as they were going through some management issues and decided to clean house... I was jobless and soon to be house-less soon, as the housing lease was about to end and my old roomates basically kicked me out because of my dog...
It was a rough time for me but I had a life to support so I had to get another job. I ended up taking a warehouse job at a ukulele company. The most random job in the history of my life, but it allowed me to listen to 8-10 hours of audiobooks/podcasts per day about marketing, business, life... anything to improve my standards of living.
I worked at that ukulele company for 3 months before quitting to pick up my life and move to Colorado with 3 friends of mine. After quitting that job, breaking up with a girlfriend of 2.5 years, and telling my landlord I'm breaking our lease, I didn't end up going to Colorado because my "friends" lack of actions. I definitely had some strange emotions going through me at this time in my life but in the end, it led me to getting a Tap Room Manager position at a professional brewery.
I was 1 out of 2 employees at this brewery, and did everything a tap room manager would do, including greet and take care of customers, open/close taproom, host events, and customer service. Within 3 months of working there the old head brewer left and the owners knew that I brewed as well, so they asked me if I wanted to brew the beer there and of course I said YES!
This brewery was now mine to run as I was the only employee on the payroll for the brewery and had freedome to do with it as I'd like. I brewed many batches of beer here and was told many times that I brewed the best beer they have ever had, and that I was the best beertender they ever had.
After the 2-3 years of teaching myself to brew, brewing 25 batches of the same recipe (besides the water) and not messing a single batch up, created a small business revolving around homebrewers, and learning everything I can about brewing, I finally achieved my goal of becoming a head brewer at a professional brewery.
I'm now taking my brewing experiences overseas and embarking on a grand brew tour in countries all over the world. Starting in Spain and ending in Thailand for a span of a year and a half. All the while I will be looking for a place to start my own brewery in a spot other then the USA as the craft beer scene is a little too over-saturated at the moment.
If you want to get in to the brewing industry you either have to know someone, or if you aren't so fortunate like me, you have to work for it... make yourself stand out from the crowd. Show potential employers that you truly want to be a brewer. I started Waters Brewer, got my credentials, and joined a homebrew club... I suggest you do the same.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the read and make sure to head to Waters Brewer and check out what I've been working on over there as well.
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